With the weather heating up here in Ontario, sometimes a hot lunch or dinner is the last thing you want. Although my go-to meal prep meals include things like pasta bakes, soup, and chili, having the oven or stovetop on in 30+ degree weather can get quite sweaty. Luckily, this recipe requires minimal use of the stovetop (none if you have a rice cooker or Instant Pot!) and utilizes quinoa, which is a whole grain.

Whole grains are important for our health because they contain all 3 parts of the grain kernel, which preserves its nutritional value including nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. This recipe is also great for anyone who hasn’t tried quinoa before and is unsure of what to make. The tangy sesame dressing also does a great job at masking some of the bitter flavours that quinoa can sometimes have. The dressing is adapted from one that I acquired when I worked at Goodness Me.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly chopped
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups spring mix, chopped
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp tamari

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa according to the package. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  2. To make carrots into ribbons, use a peeler to remove the skin of the carrot, then continue to peel the carrot, creating long, thin ribbons.
  3. Add the quinoa, carrot, celery, green onions, cucumber, tomatoes, and lentils into a large bowl, and mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. In a jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing and shake to combine.
  5. Pour half of the dressing into the bowl of mixed ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Taste and add more dressing as needed.
  6. When the salad is seasoned to your liking, add the greens and sesame seeds. Toss to combine and serve.

Tips for Meal Prepping:

I love to bring this salad to work during the summer because it is light but still filling and incorporates whole grains, fibre, and protein. To ensure that your veggies remain fresh and your greens don’t become soggy, keep the chopped ingredients separate until the night before you wish to eat it. Then in a Tupperware container, add ¼ cup of quinoa, 3 tbsp of lentils, and a handful of all of the veggies with 1 ½ – 2 tbsp of the dressing. Using the same technique as above, thoroughly mix the salad until the dressing is combined, then add the greens and sesame seeds. Place in the fridge and grab on your way to work the next day!

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